Bowl season is one of the most exciting times in sports. Fans are deprived of college football for a couple weeks and then fed an endless platter of appetizing matchups, before culminating in a hefty portion of prime-time slugfests.
Last year’s BCS National Championship Game was one of the best games of the season, but not every game can live up to the monumental hype surrounding it. This season will be no different.
While Alabama and Notre Dame will almost certainly be an entertaining affair, there are a couple BCS games that will leave many fans dissatisfied. Here are two such games.
Rose Bowl—Wisconsin vs. Stanford
When betting lines opened, Stanford was a six-point favorite over Wisconsin. This game will not be decided by less than six points.
Wisconsin snuck into the Rose Bowl at 8-5 after decimating the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Ten Championship Game. Though the Badgers played well, the Stanford Cardinal are much better than Nebraska, and finished 11-2 against a tough schedule.
The Cardinal lost to Notre Dame in overtime, but finished the year with four wins against ranked opponents. What is most surprising is that Stanford hasn’t outgunned many teams this year. The Cardinal are No. 71 in the country in scoring offense, but they are holding opponents to just 17.5 points per game this season.
Though Wisconsin has managed an offensive outpouring at times this year, don’t expect to see anything of the sort in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers failed to score more than 27 points in their five losses this season.
The Rose Bowl is a great tradition, and in most seasons, fans can expect a highly-competitive contest between good teams. Just don’t plan on watching this game from the edge of your seat.
Prediction: Stanford 31, Wisconsin 17
Discover Orange Bowl—Florida State vs. Northern Illinois
While I am a huge proponent of equal opportunity for Mid-American Conference schools, this may not be the best way for Northern Illinois to break onto the scene.
The Huskies had an incredible season in the MAC this year, and finished high enough in the BCS rankings to receive an at-large bid. Their double-overtime win against Kent State was one of the best conference championship games in recent memory.
Still, Northern Illinois is no match for Florida State. The Seminoles finished the season 11-2 against a much better level of competition, with one of their two losses coming at the hands of No. 4 Florida.
Florida State is as balanced as any team in major college football. It finished the regular season No. 14 in the country in offensive scoring, while holding opponents to just 15.1 points per game. Quarterback E.J. Manuel paced the offense with 3,101 yards passing, while a trio of talented backs (Chris Thompson, Devonta Freeman and James Wilder, Jr.) rushed for a combined 1,900 yards and 24 touchdowns.
The Huskies deserve a lot of credit for their terrific season, and certainly deserve their at-large bid. They just aren’t talented enough to hang with the Seminoles, and the result will be a fairly uninteresting game.
Prediction: Florida State 45, Northern Illinois 20